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New South Wales COVID Outbreak Likely To Peak In A Week As State Records 1281 New Cases

NSW has reported 1281 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and five deaths as the government confirms an intensive care surge capacity of 1550 beds.

The entire state is currently locked down and police are cracking down on compliance measures as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain.

The five deaths recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday include a man in his 90s, two women in their 80s, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s.

The death toll for the current outbreak now stands at 131.

There are currently 1071 COVID-19 patients in NSW in hospital, with 177 in intensive care and 67 ventilated.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday said government modelling showed COVID-19 case numbers would peak in about a week's time, with hospitalisations peaking in October.

She also said the NSW hospital system has a surge capacity of 1550 ICU beds, lower than the previously-announced surge capacity of 2000 beds.

"That is what the best modelling tells us at this stage but I do want to qualify that a number of variables are associated with that modelling," Ms Berejiklian said, listing lockdown compliance as one such variable.

Professor Tony Blakely, a public health specialist at the University of Melbourne, on Monday said case numbers in NSW could hit 3000 a day before peaking. High hospitalisation numbers could also last a year.

"We're all going to have to deal with it because next year, when we open the borders, we will have high hospitalisation numbers for at least a year," he told ABC TV.

As businesses open up in October or November and children return to school, COVID-19 transmissions will increase so "we have quite a balancing act here and quite a discussion to have about trade-offs", he said.

Ms Berejiklian has pledged to restore some freedoms for residents upon 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage, expected in mid-October.

Meanwhile, thousands of essential workers in Sydney's 12 local government area COVID-19 hotspots have been given a two-week reprieve on an order to get their first COVID-19 jab, if they want to work outside those areas.

The government has given workers two more weeks to get a vaccine but they have to book an appointment by Wednesday.

From November 8, all NSW school and preschool staff must have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.